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What is Joomla™?

By Thursday Bram
Updated May 16, 2024
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Joomla™ is a free content management system used to create websites. Joomla™ allows web designers to construct sites by combining modules, and requires no knowledge of programming to use. Joomla™'s framework is written in PHP, as are the modules used to customize websites. There is a wide variety of modules available, including RSS feeds, polls, and language internationalization, which make it easy for Joomla™ users to publish content to the web, even with minimal web design experience. Joomla™ can also be used to publish information on intranets, making it a useful organizational tool.

Because Joomla™'s code is open source, anyone is able to write modules and extensions of the system, making it extremely adaptable. These modules are available for download, typically through their creators' websites. Many web designers also create Joomla™ design elements, called 'themes', which they then make available for download. Not all Joomla™ themes are free, however, and many web designers will make custom themes for a price.

Joomla™ is often compared to Drupal, another open source content management system. Joomla™ is often described as easier to use, initially, but Drupal seems to be more adaptable if a user is able to handle the technical issues. One of Joomla™key features is its graphical interface, which has less of a learning curve than Drupals menu system.

The name 'Joomla' is a transliteration of a Swahili word meaning 'all together' or 'as a whole.' It was selected as part of a re-branding process for software originally developed as part of the Mambo content management system. Mambo was the center of controversy questioning what constituted open source software, and members of the foundation charged with funding the project were accused of planning a capitalization venture. Mambo's development team, in turn, left the project and released the first version of Joomla™ — essentially Mambo version — in 2005.

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Discussion Comments
By spreadsheet — On Oct 11, 2010

Beyond visual templates, Joomla has the ability to expand via modules and pluggins that expand the capability of the system. Some of these extensions can be quite powerful. They can be photo slide show players or some form of user management. There are even extensions to integrate a credit card payment system and shopping cart into Joomla.

Cross-connecting websites is big these days and Joomla will let you keep up with those changes.

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 11, 2010

The flexibility that Joomla provides for design is amazing. I am not one of those design oriented people but that is OK because the software lets me focus on the content and articles that I am publishing instead of constantly dealing with design problems.

One option that you will find as you research Joomla more is that design firms have developed Joomla specific templates that you can place over the default design.

There are often Joomla template clubs that allow you to subscribe to them and get continued use of the constant stream of changing visuals they provide.

If you want to change the look of your system on a regular basis then I would recommend investing in a club membership like this.

By summertime — On Oct 11, 2010

Despite the claims of ease of use that Joomla and other content management systems can bring, there is a very difficult learning process involved with this type of software if you have never been able to work with them before. Luckily there are lots of Joomla videos available on the internet to provide learners with a visual aid to setting up and managing a Joomla website.

As Joomla developers progress the software, newer versions will come out with added features. I have been through an upgrade process from several versions including Joomla 1.5.6, Joomla, 1.5.7 and now the latest version of Joomla 2.

It may seem like a big undertaking but I recommend the use of some type of management software to ease the use of your web presence.

By thumbtack — On Oct 11, 2010

I recently found out that my web hosting company offered Joomla support and have since installed it. At first I was somewhat taken aback by the steep learning curve and seemingly endless options and specific functions but once you get the basics down everything installed, the rest is smooth sailing.

The best part about Joomla is that even after you get done setting up the skeleton of your site, you have the flexibility to be able to change the look of it as simply as installing a professional Joomla template. These Joomla skins come in a wide variety of options and will allow you to find the right look that you want your clients to see. Just make sure when contracting with a hosting company that you find out if they have a Joomla server available.

By dkarnowski — On Oct 11, 2010

I use Joomla as the content management system for my website and have been most pleased. While at first I was opposed to the idea of using some kind of blog management software to help me with my site but soon I realized just how much the development of awesome websites has come in the past ten years.

To design a well working management system from scratch is the kind of thing only a programmer or coder might attempt these days. As for the rest of us I think the use of a CMS is critical in reducing the man hours spent at making sure your website provides timely content to your viewers.

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